In this video, Jess Stratton shows users how to process messages in the Inbox with complex mail rules and automate basic tasks by creating custom rules.
- [Jess] Unlike Quick Steps, which are triggered manually by you, mail rules are a set of filters that act on your incoming email automatically based on a set of rules that you've specified. Let's create a simple mail rule to move this newsletter into a folder called Newsletters that I've already created. From the Home ribbon tab, select Rules, and choose Create Rule. Now, because I have an email selected, Outlook at the top will always give a few suggestions what it thinks I might wanna do with it. But I'm going to click Create Rule.
And at the top, we have to decide what the conditions are. For example, who the email is from or what it contains. I'll choose who it's from. Now I need to decide on the action. I'll choose to move the item into a folder. If this is the first time you've ever created a rule, a dialog box will come up to select a folder. You may have to expand the Inbox, but I'm going to select my Newsletters folder. If the folder wasn't already created, I can click New and create a new one.
But my folder's selected. I'll click OK and OK again. The rule has been created. I can place a check box next to Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder. This is a great feature, because I can have an inbox full of these newsletters and move them all at once. I'll click OK. And my newsletter's been moved. Another great thing is that it maintains the unread count so I'll always know when there's a new newsletter in here that I need to read. Let's create something more complex with a mail rule.
I'm going to create a new rule to assign anything that comes in about TechFest to the TechFest category. This way I don't have to do it manually. From the Home ribbon tab, I'll choose Rules. Now I'm going to choose Manage Rules & Alerts. I can see the rule that I already have here. If I wanna remove it at any time, I can highlight it and click Delete, or I can simply uncheck it to stop applying it. In this case, however, I'm going to click New Rule.
This time we can start with a template or a blank rule. Templates contain built-in tasks, such as moving messages. I'm going to start from a blank rule, however. I'll click to apply the rule on messages that I receive. I'll apply the rule after the message arrives and click Next. Now I have to select the message criteria. I'm going to choose to check for specific words in the subject or body. I have a lot of criteria that I can choose from. Take some time and go through this list, because you may not even realize that you need a rule until you realize that you can create one surrounding specific categories.
I'll place a check mark next to specific words in the subject or body. Down at the bottom, I'll click on the phrase specific words. And here's where I can type my words. In this case, techfest. I'll click Add. And I could add more, but I'll click OK. And now I'll click Next. Now that we've set the conditions, it's time to choose the action. Again, go through this list. I've got a lot of actions that I can do on this email. However, I already know I want to assign it to a specific category.
I'll place a check mark here. And down at the bottom, I'll click on the word category that's in blue. I'm going to select my TechFest category. I'll click OK. I'll click Next again. And here's where I can set any exemptions. For example, if a message comes in with TechFest in the subject or body but it also meets this other criteria, I can have an exemption in which the rule won't run. However, in this case, I'll click Next. I'll leave the name as TechFest, although I'll give it proper capitalization.
I'll make sure that the rule is on, and I'll choose to run it now on messages already in inbox. Now I can click Finish. I'm prompted that this rule is only going to run when I check my mail in Outlook. I'll click OK. OK again. And instantly all my TechFest emails are categorized into the TechFest category. Mail rules are very powerful, as there's so many options that you can automate. For example, if you keep getting product inquiries for a discontinued product, you can even send out an auto response, letting your customers know the product no longer exists, or a similar situation that matches your industry.
So I definitely encourage you to poke around with all the choices that you have with mail rules.
- Accessing the keyboard shortcuts
- Using @mentions
- Reading and searching mail
- Organizing mail
- Processing messages with mail rules
- Using the new Focused Inbox feature
- Creating and formatting new messages
- Recalling and resending messages
- Creating new contacts
- Working with the calendar
- Creating tasks and notes
- Working with Outlook data